In the fast lane

I walk a pace: I can make it from Magdalen Street East to Queen’s Lane in under three minutes to get the coach to London in the mornings. On London days, I clear 10 000 steps, no problem. I am productive. Meetings, talks, papers, reviews. I don’t  just walk a pace. I work a pace, too.

I have lots of different projects on the go. Whilst my psychiatrist would like to know where I get the energy from, simply to get out of bed in the morning, given how badly the illness has affected me emotionally, I (hope I) am working hard enough that no one at work sees any of the struggles I have with mental health. My work life seems to be back on the rails, for now.


But the activity betrays reality. Reality is that I am scared of the fast lane. Scared of when the wool will be pulled from people’s eyes and they will see I am not managing at all. Reality is that, waiting with baited breath, for the next time my emotions battle to take over, the next time I am triggered, is exhausting. Worries over the church, over my parents’ divorce, decree absolute, and its implications, over my next job contract, how it will (or more likely will not) fit with therapy, spin round and round in my mind.

I took some time to adapt a piece for my grandfather’s funeral last week. My family reminisced on my Aunt; her time spent in the garden, writing poetry. They unknowingly highlight yet more similarities between us. It is more than likely our illnesses are the same. My family don’t know that. I long to have known her, met her.  As they talked, I remembered how much I used to love writing. I can’t remember where I used to find the time.

As one set of worries morphs to the next, ad infinitum, I want to step out of the fast lane, and have some time to write, without having to do so for some purpose or promise. Time to reflect.I cannot still my mind these days. The caffeine that fuels some basic level of alertness, allows me to function beyond the expectations of the psychiatrist, means my mind is always active forever thinking on the next thing,  the next conversation.  Jumping to the next problem as soon as one is solved. I want it to be calm again.

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2 Responses to In the fast lane

  1. Yet your writing is calmer!

    Just recently, there’s no longer quite the same sense of crisis there was just a little while ago. I sense things are changing.

    It may still feel critical to you, but something’s different. For all the vulnerability there is for you around church, I suspect the difference is the feeling that you’ve been heard.

    Being listened to is a profound experience.

    Many years ago I did a very basic counselling course. It didn’t really go beyond reflective listening but what has remained with me is the experience of being listened to. Most of us rarely get that; and your experience was of *not* being heard. But your recent experience was of being listened to and that makes all the difference.

    Your anxiety is about whether you were actually heard, and that is understandable. But for a brief moment you were listened to.

    Whatever the outcome of that of that particular experience, I’d love to reassure you that there are those who hear you. There are those who love and value you because you are you.

    You remain in my thoughts and prayers. And there’s always a you-shaped space here if you need it!



    • Thank you, David. Writing even short amounts helps me to calm. You’re right. I remain afraid that I haven’t been heard – and/or having been heard, those concerns will be dismissed by those who they are about, the stress of more formal action. Thank you for hearing me –
      SoS x


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